PH Carpool: Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf

Name: Marc Harvey
Car: Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf
Owned since: April 2010
Previously owned: uninteresting commuting white goods

Marc with his P'n' J
Marc with his P'n' J
Why I bought it:
I went to test drive the Mito when it first came out, and came away pretty disappointed with the first-generation 155hp turbo. A couple of years later, partly to put my mind at ease and mainly out of spite after the local VW dealer told me that my custom wasn't of any interest, I went to try the Cloverleaf when it came out.

The things I'd disliked on the 155 - sloppy gearbox and unresolved ride - had been sorted. I also remember putting my foot down in third and going from 40 to illegal reasonably quickly, and thinking that this was quite exciting. The turbo also made a pleasing noise on the overrun through the open window.

Marc embraces the foibles of this badge
Marc embraces the foibles of this badge
What I wish I'd known:
Not to buy a red one. The 'Alfa Red' paintwork chips with dangerous ease, and Alfa Romeo's customer service department is unwilling to do anything about it. In retrospect I should also have listened to my father when he said it'd depreciate like a stone sinking in water.

Things I love:
The usual Alfa Romeo foibles: the petrol gauge which reads 'benzina', the magnificent little Multiair engine, the asymmetrical 'startled owl' looks, the precise gearbox, the fact that there was a large piece of loose trim in the driver's footwell when I collected it (new) despite the PDI stamp in the service book...

Mito picked after run-in with snooty VW dealer
Mito picked after run-in with snooty VW dealer
Things I hate:
The usual Alfa Romeo foibles: recalls for over-heating plastic-melting headlamps, brittle switchgear, a couple of rattles, the occasional exposed screw-head, my ongoing battle to have the front resprayed, the Stop-Start system which occasionally does one, the other or neither, but rarely both. The DNA system which, when you start the car, reverts to 'normal' mode where the steering is soft and unpleasant, the damping seems to over-bounce (if that makes sense) and the throttle response makes it feel like the turbo fell out.

Oh, and the driving position would benefit from the steering wheel going lower, and the stereo is crap.

Interior not the best quality
Interior not the best quality
Tyres and servicing, and a reasonable amount of unleaded. It will apparently do 40mpg, though I've not noticed. The tracking is easily knocked out of alignment, too.

Where I've been:
I don't drive to work, so the Mito only gets used for pleasant duties. It's also been going to south and central France about four times a year where it sits happily on the motorway at a rapid lick, and it seems ideally suited to the routes nationales where its decent overtaking ability and an awake passenger are all you need to make exciting progress.

It also enjoys the occasional early-morning trip to the quieter corners of the Peak District. I've avoided track days with it as I don't own shares in Michelin.

What next:
I've heard that cheeky 200hp upgrades are available, mind you, so are Giulietta Cloverleafs...

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Like a cornering shot, only stationary
Like a cornering shot, only stationary
Mito hides behind a conifer...
Mito hides behind a conifer...


Comments (57) Join the discussion on the forum

  • thewheelman 23 Jul 2012

    Im impressed that you said all that about your Alfa, without using words such as passion & soul. wink

    Nice car.

  • Vitorio 23 Jul 2012

    Briliant car, i had two, a 155hp and a 135hp, loved em both, although the 155 was a lot more fun to drive, much more lairy then the smooth multi-air on the 135.

    Sorry to hear about the paint chips, a couple of red ones over here have the same issue frown

  • only1ian 23 Jul 2012

    If you think that's bad you should see the issues I had with build quality on my 145 cloverleaf and the 3 gtv's I owned! The most anoying was if the passenger moved the seat position the airbag warning light came on as the sensor was under the seat!

    Having said that the gullietta I drive recently as a hire car was impressive in its cabin quality! At least over 3 days...

    Now if I was going to get back into an Alfa:

    Yes please!

  • stevebear 23 Jul 2012

    Don't think I'd be quite so chuffed with that number of 'issues' !

  • SprintSpeciale 23 Jul 2012

    If it's any consolation (which I doubt), the chipping has nothing to do with the colour of the paint. We had an Etna Black Mito and within months the front had more chips than Burger King. We moved that on after a year because Mrs SS wanted a Giulietta Cloverleaf. It's metallic grey, and the nose is as pockmarked as a teenager with a glue habit. I think the paint Alfa uses is just not very good, unfortunately.

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